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subcommittee, by scores of journalists. everyone asked him the same question; dr. castro, are you a communist? and he answered the same every time; no, he was not a communist, never had been, never would be. when castro finally left new york on april 25th, the police were relieved to see him go, but most new yorkers were happy that he'd come to visit. an editorial in "the new york times" summed up the general attitude toward castro as he left. quote: he made it quite clear that neither he, nor anyone of importance in his government so far as he knew was a communist. by the same token, it seems obvious that the americans feel better about castro than they did before. >> you can watch this and other programs online at >> you're watching booktv on c-span2, 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors every weekend on c-span2. well, fall is one of the biggest book-selling seasons and book
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release seasons of them all, and this is our 2011 fall book preview show. we're joined by two industry watchers and book followers, bob minzesheimer is with "usa today," he's the book critic for that newspaper, he's in new york city, and jason boog is with galley cat which is a web site that covers books and the publishing industry. gentlemen, thank you for being on booktv today. and i want to start by asking you which book you're most excited about or looking forward to this fall. bob minitz smiler, we'll start with you. >> okay. peter, i'll mention three books, i'll try to do them briefly. one is already out, and for a book critic that's sort of a no no-no, it's called "what it feel like to go to war." the author wrote a novel about vietnam last year that was
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published called "matterhorn," which i thought was extraordinary. it also took him 20-some years to get it published. he shifted to nonfiction to write both for a military and a civilian audience what combat is really like which he thinks the military really doesn't prepare, um, soldiers for. they prepare them for the sort of technological and physical demands of war, but not for some of the emotional and philosophical. he's very good at writing about other writers and novelists about war. that's one book. um, shifting, there is a book coming from david -- [inaudible] who writes for "vanity fair" called "elizabeth and hazel," and it's about two women who were captured in a famous be photograph, there's a black student entering little rock central hospital, and there's a white student yelling at her. and this is the story of their sort of improbable first friendship and years later and
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how that friendship fell apart. they made a movie of this, it would probably end with the friendship. and finally, like a lot of people i'm looking forward to seeing what jacqueline kennedy had to say to arthur schlessinger shortly after the assassination of president kennedy. that's an oral history that's coming out, i believe, next year. >> the caroline kennedy book -- >> well, she's the editor. >> conversations on life with john f. kennedy. is that the book? >> that's the book, right. >> bob, why did the two women from little rock, why did their friendship fall apart? >> that i, i haven't gotten that far in the book yet. we'll have to stay tuned. [laughter] >> jason boog of galley cat, what are you looking forward to? >> i'm looking forward to susan arlene's new book about run tin tin, the famous dog that starred in a number of movies. when i first heard about the book, i have to confess, i was a
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little skeptical. i said who would want to read about a dog on tv, and i read the first excerpts in the new yorker the other week, and it just blew me away. i'm really excited to see this story. it's a fantastic story, and i'm really looking forward to it. >> well, you both mentioned biographies, so let's look at some other biographies that are coming out this season, and that includes christopher hitchens, arguably essays by christopher hitchens. jason boog, what can you tell us about this? >> well, hitchens hasn't put together a collection of essays like this in a few years, i think 2004 was the last time, so it's going to coffer a lot of ground, everything from his controversial stance on the iraq war to al-qaeda, even to some more current events. and he's right now fairly ill with cancer, so it's one of his, this book's really going to be, put him out in the public and, i think, be a very important book in his career. >> if i could add to that --
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>> please. >> excuse me, peter. i was going to add, i've been dip anything and out of the hitchens, and the great thing about him is whether you agree with him or not, whether he's writing about a topic that's in the news or not, he's just a lot of fun to read. >> michael moore has his biography coming out, "here comes trouble." he's also going to be our "in depth" book in october. >> i'm really excited about that book, actually. >> go ahead, mr. boog. >> yeah. he's a michigan boy. i grew up watching his work on flint, and this actually shows his life before he was a film maker. so i'm really looking forward to seeing these stories from his life. >> bob? >> i was going to say he is, we did a short interview with him in the paper, i think it was actually today which would be by the time you see this, last thursday, and he describes it as -- he says it's not a memoir, that's sort of an anti-memoir, just some stories including, um, i think he was 13 years old
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wandering around the capitol and got lost, and he ran into bobby kennedy. >> now, gentlemen, a book by michael moore, will that automatically be a large print run? >> i would say, yes. >> i'm sorry, jason, go ahead. >> oh, he has such a big following online already. if you go to his web site already, you can see all the people that are talking about this book. i think it's going to sell a lot of copies. >> well, two other well known authors who might generate automatic large print runs, and they're economic books. sylvia nasser and michael lewis. sylvia naser's coming out with grand pursuit: the story of economic genius. michael lewis, boomerang: travels in the third world. what can you tell us about these two books, bob? >> well, sylvia nasser is probably best known for her last book which is "a beautiful mind." it was a bestseller about a
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mathematician, john nash. it was helped by the fact that it became a movie with russell crowe, so she has a big following. i think what she's trying to do is take economics which has been called sort of the dismal science and add some humanity, personality to it. i just began, and she comes across -- this, to me, was a new idea that 150 years ago or so the idea that most people were doomed to live lives filled with poverty and despair was an accepted given. and she traces how that has changed over 200 years or 150 years. >> jason boog, what about michael lewis? >> i'm really looking forward to this book, actually. his last book, "the big short," looked at the economic meltdown and how the stock market crash affected our lives here in the united states, but his next book is going to go around the world and look at the different ways it affected other countries from europe to the developing countries around us. and it's really an important
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thing to do right now, i think, to just not forget that we're not the only ones suffering through economic crisis right now. there's a lot of countries struggling, and i think looking at the way that it's affected global commerce is a really important thing to do right now. >> and mr. lewis -- go ahead, bob. >> okay. also his subtitle, he talks about the new third world which is the idea that there was this strict division between the developed world and the developing countries, the poor countries. and i think he's trying to get beyond that and show what easy credit did to a lot of economies including our own. >> now, there's a third -- >> he's also a delightful -- excuse me, he's also a delightful writer. >> there's a third economics book coming out by nicholas wapshot, keynes and hayek. what is this book about? jason? >> yeah. i'm actually really, this is something that really interests me personally. i'm actually working on a book of my own about the great
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depression and how writers in new york city survived that. and this book looks at a very critical moment when economists in the united states were trying to decide how we should respond to the great depression, and the two different views that came out. one was we should spend a lot of money and put these programs to put the country back to work, or we should be more cautious. and we're going to see these two dynamics play out all through 2012 during the election. so i think it's really a good time to read up on these issues. >> right. and frederick hi wreck who i believe was an austrian economist who didn't believe that government should intervene was recently on the bestseller list thanks to glenn beck who's a big advocate of hayek's theories. >> well, jason boog, a book that's gotten a lot of attention out here on the east coast, and i want to get the west coast perspective, it's already out. it's dick cheney's book, "in my
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time." is that getting a lot of buzz or noise on the west coast? >> believe it or not, the last time i checked it's the number two book in the history section of amazon, and it's about the number ten book on amazon overall, so, yes, i think people all over the country are really interested in reading this book. cheney served during a crucial time in our country, and it doesn't look like he's apologizing much, and he's caused all sorts of different reactions from officials who worked with him saying he took cheap shots, some people think. and you've seen him on television which also helps. >> go ahead, bob. >> on "usa today"'s list it was number four, and our list includes both paperback and hardcover fiction/nonfiction. however, to put it a little bit in perspective, "the help," the novel that's now a movie, was outselling it four to one.
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but still i guess next week or week after next it will be number one on "the new york times" nonfiction hardcover list. they separate into various categories. >> bob, a book like this by a vice president even though it was maybe controversial vice president, does it have staying power? >> well, probably not. i don't know. i mean, is this -- this is, they talk about journalism being the first draft of history. this would probably be the second draft of history. um, will a lot of people be reading it in ten years? i doubt that. >> well, the second half of condoleezza rice's memoir is coming out, and this is about her years in the white house with the bush administration. >> right. in fact, peter, i was going to suggest c-span should get maybe ms. rice and mr. cheney to interview each other. [laughter] >> i would watch that in a second. [laughter] >> well, we have bob woodward
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interviewing dick cheney for our "after words "program, so we'll have that for our archives. and, but what about condoleezza rice's book? have you heard anything about this? jason boog, she's out at stanford. >> yeah. it's actually quite a heavy tome, 700 pages, more than that. and she served as a very historic time. she was the first african-american woman to be the secretary, to serve, and so i think it's going to be a very historic book. she has a lot of scores i think she wants to settle. 700 pages worth. so i think a lot of people will be looking at that book too. >> mr. boog, will you read that book, or is that a book that one might do a washington read and go back to the index and look for names? >> yeah. in my job at media bistro writing for galley cat, we tend to do the index read where i will look at the portion of the book that interest our audience
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the most. we've already done that with cheney's book. it's a really interesting way to look through it. but i'm interested to find out the books that interested her and the books she wants to answer with this memoir. >> bob, will you read condoleezza rice's book? >> will i read it? no, i probably will not read the whole thing. i'll be curious about it. it's been embargoed which means there are no advance copies of it. i did read most of her first book, her memoir about growing up in segregated alabama and thought that was rather interesting. i know what the publisher put out, they talked about it as a sort of master class in diplomacy and talked about her humility and, um, humanity, and i was wondering if that is some sort of dig at the former vice president who, um, humble was not an adjective often attached to him. >> and condoleezza rice's second volume of her autobiography is
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coming out november 1st. booktv interviewed her for the first half, her first, her first book, and you can watch that interview if you're interested at, simply use the search function in the upper left-hand corner of our web site home page. well, one former governor, one current governor currently have books out. we'll begin with mitch daniels, "keeping the republic: saving america by trusting americans." was this a pre-presidential run book, bob? >> probably, i don't know for sure. i'm sure the people at penguin, his publisher, were disappointed that he did not decide to run for president. i'm not sure if a book by a presidential candidate, very rarely do they become bestsellers. i think people write these books for a variety of reasons. some just the idea of getting
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their ideas out there. um, we probably haven't heard the last of mitch daniels even though he's not running for president. >> well, former two-term michigan governor jennifer granholm has a new book out "a governor's story: the fight for jobs and america's economic future," it's being put out by public affairs in the september. jason boog, former governor of michigan. you going to read it? >> >> i am going to read it, actually. i'm from michigan, um, and she just took the state during probably the roughest time in that state's history. um, i've been, i was living in the new york before this, so i wasn't in michigan during her tenure, but just talking to my family it was such a rough time, and it's a really interesting period. and her focus on jobs really interests me. i like that approach better than kind of mitch daniels, he actually has a blurb from jeb bush that calls him the anti-obama. and i don't like it when someone takes a book just to postsit
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against -- posit against someone. the struggles that she faced in the job market, i'm really looking forward to checking that out. >> bob, herman cain, republican candidate for president. october he has his autobiography coming out. "this is herman cain, my journey to the white house." >> right. notice the exclamation point there after this is herman cain. it's the latest incarnation of someone who has been successful in business, i think it was grandfather's pizza. he calls himself abc, american, black and conservative. i wouldn't, i think most people would not bet on his presidential campaign. he has some interesting ideas, and, um, i'll leave it at that. >> so with a book like this about a candidate who may not be that well known, what kind of a print run do you have?
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>> well, one of the dirty secrets of publishing is publishers are always exaggerating their print runs, and there's really -- it's very hard to know exactly. they'll say we're printing 20,000 copies, they're probably printing 10,000 copies. and can it's all relative. i mean, this is such -- books in our culture are such a, i mean, they're influential, but by numbers alone they're a drop in the bucket. a book can sell 25,000 copies in a week and be a bestseller, but in a country of 300 million people, that's not a lot. so i don't put a lot of stock in print runs, um, mostly because they're unverifiable. >> jason? >> i do want to add one thing. herman cain is, also, a very sure bet for publishers. anytime some author comes in irregardless of a presidential campaign, if they come in with a strong following on the radio like he has, a built-in audience that are really interested in
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read what he has to think, publishers love that. and they're making a lot more bets on people like him that have a pre-forum platform. >> and that's being published, jason boog, by threshold. what is threshold? >> threshold is, i believe, a more conservative imprint. we're seeing more of these form, we -- actually, glenn beck actually has his own imprint to publish the people he likes. it's a strong movement right now, more conservative-focused publishing. >> and along with sent them and regnery, bob, does a conservative book have, as jason boog said, a built-in audience? >> i think so. in fact, well, there's this odd thing, and there's probably no way of proving this, that the party out of power does better at bookstores. so, for instance, during the bush administration, the second bush administration a lot of books critical of the president
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did well in bookstores. the same thing for bill clinton. there were a lot of sort of you could say critical anti-clinton books during his administration. now we're seeing conservatives do well at the bookstores while in the obama administration. again, the numbers are a lot different. i mean, again, a lot more people vote than buy books. one other thing about a book by herman cain, i'm sure he did not write that book to make much money. in fact, he may not be making hardly any money off of it, so that's also an attraction to the publisher. they don't have to pay the author much money. at least up front. >> this is booktv on c-span2, and this is our 2011 fall book preview show. bob minitz -- bob minzesheimer and jason boog. gentlemen, one other political book that's coming out or politicians book that's coming
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out is just recently announced, representative gabrielle giffords and her husband, mark kelly. jason boog. >> yeah. i put that news up earlier this week, and i was amazed by the response. people circulated that all around the internet. people are very excited to see what happened in her life since that tragic shooting, um, and then also her husband just took a trip to space. so it's such a powerful combination. you'd be hard pressed to find a more exciting memoir this season. >> and that is coming out by scrivener in november. bob minzesheimer, anita hill has a book coming out this fall. >> right. this is her second book. remember, anita hill, for those of you without long memories, was the witness against clarence thomas in his confirmation hearings in '91 is or so? i'm trying to remember when that was. sometime in the early '90s. and she wrote about that experience in her last book. i think she's trying to get beyond that, beyond the he
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said/she said sort of story. and it's a book that seems to be a blend of both her own life, she grew up poor in a huge family in rural oklahoma, and the stories of other women who rose above their circumstances. and beyond that a little more sociological, philosophical view of gender and racial discrimination. >> well, there are two books with titles that lend themselves to the same, same theme, but by vastly different authors. and tom friedman and michael mandelbaum have a book coming out called "that used to be us." and pat buchanan's newest book, "suicide of a superpower." what can you tell us about these two books, gentlemen? >> can i can take pat buchanan is an apocalyptic book. i haven't read it yet, but he's really taking the view that our
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country's in trouble, which we are, and kind of saying he's going to be looking toward the tea party and the conservative movement as a way to get us out of this. um, i think it's going to be taking a lot of shots. i think it's going to be trying to stoke the fires that push the division that we're seeing right now in our country and kind of deepen that divide which i really feel is not the appropriate way to, i think we need books that can bring us together a little bit more right now. and his book seems like it's going to be quite a polarizing tome when it comes out. >> mr. minzesheimer? >> i would add there's another title that might fit into that category, it's by tom brokaw. i forget the title now, but it addresses all three books from different perspectives are addressing this sense that this country is sort of adrift. we're not addressing fundamental problems in an era which is a little hard to define. we went through world war ii, we knew who our enemies were. we went through the cold war, we knew who our enemies were.
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now in a global war against terrorism, we're not so sure who our enemies are. and i think a lot of authors from different perspectives are addressing, um, addressing that. and i think it gets to the point of does the country fundamentally know what it's doing and where it's headed? >> >> the subtitle of the friedman/mandelbaum book, how america fell behind in the world it invented and how we can come back. bob minzesheimer, having tom friedman's name on a book, does that sell it automatically? >> indeed. yes. he's a columnist for "the new york times", and he has a proven track record of, um, best-selling books on policy issues. he has a knack of writing about policy in ways that you don't need to be a policy wonk to appreciate and understand. and he probably, i think conservatives would view him as
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a liberal, but i think he's, um, fairly open-minded to other points of view and lets facts form, inform his opinions. >> and tom brokaw's book, we want to show you the cover one more time. "the time of our lives: a conversation about america." jason boog, did you want to add something? >> oh, yeah. i was just saying tom friedman speaks to such a specific, influential and powerful audience. i think you'll see his book being read in the first class section of all your airplane rides. and it's just a fascinating demographic. and his books really spread, and i just love watching that happen. >> bob minzesheimer, there's a book on the list here that caught our attention that we wanted to ask you about, and that's harriet washington's upcoming book in october, "deadly monopolies." what is this book about? >> i have not read it. i have read about it. it is, as much as i understand,
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um, about pharmacy, the pharmacy industry's patent on, for instance, tissues that are taken from patients in hospitals then become the property of the hospital or the pharmacy company. it's sort of, i believe in some ways it sort of might be related to, there was a popular book, "the immortal life of henry yet that -- >> by rebecca -- [inaudible] >> yes. which was sort of a fascinating piece of history about samples taken from this one woman who was unaware of it and what happened to that in terms of cancer research. this is much more of a policy attack on the pharmacy industry and the medical care industry. >> and the subtitle of harriet washington's deadly monopolies, the shocking corporate takeover of life itself and the consequences for your health and our medical future.
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gentlemen, henry louis gates has a book coming out, "life upon these shores: looking at african-american history 1513-2008." it's being published in november. that's a lot of years he's covering. >> yeah. >> i just got the -- go ahead, go ahead, jason. >> oh, yeah. i just, it's loaded with illustrations and historical stories. i think it's really going to be an interesting look. and kind of shows us things that we haven't really learned in our history books. anytime a book can show me something new, little corners of history like that, i get excited about that. >> go ahead. >> and gates is a graceful writer. i just got my galley, galley being the advance copy of the book, and it looks almost like a substantial coffee table book. in that the design, to make it attractive, gates is a scholar, he's trying to popularize history. i don't think it's a work of
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academic scholarship as much as trying to popularize african-american history. >> neil ferguson, another well known nonfiction author, "civilization: the west and the rest," coming out in november from penguin. neil ferguson's writing a rather, about a rather large topic there, isn't he, gentlemen >> jason, you can take that. i have not gotten that far. i'm not up to my november books yet, sorry. [laughter] >> no, no. forget szob's a little bit more well known in the u.k., and can he takes kind of a conservative view of history. he feels he'd like to show how important england and europe was to the development of the world and sometimes gets into controversial territory. and this book's going to be aimed more about 17-year-olds, he said. he really wants to fill a gap that he thinks he sees in the education system in the way we teach history. >> well-known washingtonian and
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currently the head of the broadcasting board of governors, former head of the aspen institute, walter i.c.e. zackson has another book coming out while having this full-time job with the bbg, and it's on steve jobs. this book was originally scheduled to be released next march, they've moved it up to november. jason boog. >> yeah. he's having quite a rush job, actually. tremendous biographer, izaakson. he does everybody from benjamin franklin to einstein, and this book will actually include the recent resignation of steve jobs which is amazing, the turn around he must have had to do to write in the resignation and the impact that will have on the company will actually be included in the book. and a lot of people really want to know why apple's so successful at a time when our country is not so successful. so i think that book is really going to be one of the bestsellers of the year. >> jason boog -- go ahead, mr. minzesheimer.
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>> i was going to say, it's being described as a, it's not an authorized book, but that jobs cooperated and gave a lot of interviews. he does not, has not done many interviews, so that adds to the importance of the book. >> and, gentlemen, i don't know if you've seen the cover or not, but it's one large picture of steve jobs. what do you think about that? >> i have not seen it, and i cannot see your camera, i'm afraid. [laughter] >> it is, it's a great picture of him. and i think it's a very happy, it's the way a lot of people want to remember him. i know he, his health is not so, he's not feeling so well right now, so i think it's a good way to remember him. >> three well-known media folks have new books, and they're also well-known authors. but three well-known media folks have books coming out; jim lehr, bill o'reilly and chris
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matthews. jim lehr's book comes out in september, and he was on our "after words" program, and you can watch that online as well at book tv torg -- now, bill o'reilly has a new book coming out called "killing lincoln: the shocking assassination that changed america," henry holt is publishing this book. gentlemen, what new can we bring to the table regarding abraham lincoln's assassination? >> i'm actually interviewing bill o'reilly next week, and that's going to be one of my questions. i'm going to be reading that book this weekend. although i believe, i think this is a fact or maybe it's a myth that more books have been written about abraham lincoln than any other historical figure other than jesus christ. but i think a lot of writers have proven that there's always something new to be said, some new insight even if it's not a
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new fact. now, whether bill o'reilly has that, i'm not sure. a lot of scholars have devoted their entire lives to writing about lincoln. >> jason boog, chris matthews' new book on jack kennedy, "elusive hero." simon & schuster's november release. >> yeah, i think it's going to be a cool book. he actually is taking stories, because of his journalism career, he's been able to speak with people who knew kennedy at all different parts of his life. so matthews is piecing together stories other people told him into a kind of a new narrative. so i think there's actually a chance this book could have new stuff that we've never seen before. >> jason, you know, there's a bookstore in chicago that's devoted entirely to books on abraham lincoln, and i've always thought there could easily be another bookstore devoted just to kennedy. >> bob minzesheimer, how would you describe the state of the publishing industry? we've been hearing for years that it's in transformation,
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that it's in decline. >> well, it's in better shape than the newspaper industry. um, it's probably not as in as good a shape as it might have been in 1920. it's, it's seen, i mean, i don't, um, there seems to be no decline in the number of books being published, and, in fact, they continue to come out. for readers i think it's a good time. i mean, um, you know, a lot of people talk about the death of the music industry, um, and that's what publishers do not want the publishing industry to follow. but for people who like music this is a wonderful time. now, not if you are a stockholder and executive in sony music or columbia music and all that. but i think publishing is, i'm afraid to say turned the corner.
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they're probably feeling a little better than they did three or four years ago. e-books is a great unknown, the growth of e-books. that both offers opportunities and challenges. um, whether authors thought more authors begin to self-publish and sell a lot of books, especially big names, that would change publishing. but for readers i think this is a good time. i don't worry about the industry as much as i worry about readers. >> jason boog? >> i think it's an exciting time for publishing. i'm not worried about readers at all. with digital books there's been a few different studies that show once people have an e-reader, they start reading more books than they did before. it's very quick, it's fast, and it's more inexpensive than buying the hardcovers. so i don't worry about readers. i think the publishing industry is going to get smaller because digital books just don't cost or earn the same amount of money that you would earn from a
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hardcover, so i think you're going to see less big book deals, you're going to see a little more conservative book deals, and also you're just going to see a lot more writers like we're talking about. they're going to go, they're going to go the indie route. they're going to publish themselves or publish with a scattering of independent publishers that are blossoming around the country right now. >> well, now that you're -- go ahead, mr. minzesheimer. >> well, the big threat will be what happens to bookstores. and those of us who grew up finding books in bookstores, can bookstores survive e-books? independent bookstores as well as barnes & noble are trying, but that's a big question. and publishers say they need a showroom. they need a showroom where people discover books because there are so many books being published. >> ask the loss of borders -- and the loss of borders, we cannot underestimate how tremendous the impact that will be on the publishing industry. we've lost thousands and thousands of feet of shelf space that people used to have to show
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books, and it just evaporated, and i think that's going to have a profound influence on how books are sold in the future. >> are jason boog, now that you've had a little time on the west coast after living in the publishing world's nexus in new york, do you have a different perspective on books? are you seeing different trends? anything? >> i think we have a very, very bad tendency in new york city to become snobbish and think that there aren't writers anywhere else except for brooklyn and new york city. and out here it's completely the opposite. i find a very rich community, there's the los angeles review of books just starting up, the los angeles times has a great book section, there's literary journals out here like slake. it's a really flourishing community, and it doesn't get the attention, i don't think, and i don't think many people in the united states realize just how many writers are really out here. and best of all, the climate out here is perfect for a writer. you have this great weather
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constantly, so you can just go outside and sit with your notebook and just let your thoughts go. i really like that side of it. >> now, when will we be seeing your book that you referred to earlier in the program? >> oh, that will be, we'll be wrapping that up in the early next year. and it's going to be called "will write for food: how new york city writers survived the great depression." and the great recession. i want to look at my own experience, too, during this publishing crisis. >> bob minzesheimer, are new york literary people snobbish? >> oh, certainly not. no. well, you know, it's sort of funny because the publishing industry, we tend to think of the publishing industry as only the big houses, the big five or six publishing giants who are based in new york who dominate the bestseller lists. but that, really, they do not publish the vast majority of books.
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um, one of the fascinating facts i learned from be, um, a fellow at barnes & noble was that barnes & noble's bestseller list which i think is 40 books, that's fiction, nonfiction, paperback, hardcover, different lists, 40 books account sister about 6 president -- 6% of their sales. a lot of these books are being published by companies i probably have never heard of. some are niche publishers, some are literary publishers, some specialize. so it's a huge industry. it's so much bigger than any other, um, mass medium. and, in fact, i often think books shouldn't be thought of as a mass medium except for a few big bestsellers, most books are being read by such a small number of people. um, thrown together books become a big industry. but separately it's not like a big movie where, um, you know, a
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third of the country may go see it or before cable. >> bob minzesheimer is the book critic for "usa today." books."usa today".com if you'd like to read some of his writings. jason boog is with galley cat, media cat is his web site. and, of course, our web site at booktv is you can watch any number of our 9,000-plus programs that we've covered in our 13 or so years here at booktv, simply use the search function up in the upper left-hand corner. gentlemen, thank you for this 2011 fall book preview. >> thank you. >> thanks a lot. >> you're watching booktv on c-span2, 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books every weekend. >> we have this book called "the
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deal from hell." um, what's it about, basically, and why should we care, especially why should people watching as far away in bang gore, maine, utica, new york, why should they care? >> >> well, i mean, really this book talks a lot about the differences between journalism today and journalism when i started. when i got into the journalism, the newspaper business was really largely controlled by families. not all of them were angels by any means, but they really had kind of a public serviceman that that they followed. and it, basically, was no one could ever have put it better than mike coles who was a leading member of the family that owned the first newspaper i worked for, "the des moines register". and mike always said the only thing a newspaper really has to worry about is that the public respects it.
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because if public respects it, you will have readers. and if you have readers, you will have advertisers. and that's the main source of income and revenue for newspapers. so you really have to be respected by the public to be in a successful business. and then around the 1960s and the '70s that sort of got turned on its head when the families wanted to get out of the business, and they started selling off their newspapers. and a lot of times they sold them to people who, to corporations that were owned by stockholders. and the people that ran those corporations had a duty to journalists, to journalism, but they also had a fiduciary duty to stockholders. and at first it was fine because we all had a lot of money rolling in, and it was easy to balance those two things. but then sometime after september 11th that changed, and we began struggling with revenues. and as we've tried to maintain the profit margins which were
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considerable, we began cutting, and we gandhi minishing our journalism. and i suspect all of us were a little bit guilty of subordinating the interests of the public to our fiduciary duties to produce the kind of returns that wall street and others expected. and i really think that that kind of led us down this path to where we are today. and in the case of the tribune company, it led them to bankruptcy court and a great institution that was a fixture in here is today an institution in trouble, and i think it has, it's an institution that has -- and all newspapers like it -- i don't think people understand the fundamental role that newspapers play in giving voters and people in a democracy the information and news they need. and they're under threat today, and i think it's a really troubling, it's troubling to me, it's troubling to a lot of people. and i think we, you know,
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that's -- so everybody, i think, should care about this story not just because it's about me or not because it's about "the chicago tribune" or the l.a. times, but it's about journalism, and that's something that i think is vital to a democratic society. >> this book is called "the deal from hell," it's really about two deals. the first comes in the year 2000 and involves the purchase by tribune company venerable, chicago-based owner of several dozen very respected television stations and newspapers, its purchase of los angeles-based times mirror company. give us succinctly sort of the economic backdrop at the time, the newspaper industry backdrop and the rationale for that first of the two big deals. and if you want to mention a fellow somewhere along the line who became known, i think, as the serial killer -- that's not
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serial like john wayne gais si, it's cereal like cheerios and smart starts, cereal, tell us a little bit about him and why he was critical to the tactics and strategy in executing this deal. >> well, i think the deal with sam zell was the deal from hell, and the tribune made a stop in purgatory first when it bought times mirror. [laughter] and it was, it was -- and, you know, basically, the atmosphere at the time was buy or be bought. and everybody, aol and time warner had just merged, and things were going quite well. and so when the tribune decided to buy this, things looked pretty good, the future looked pretty bright. we paid a lot of money for it, and it was, and the way the deal was structured is we bought the company even though mark willis, the cereal killer who was the
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ceo of times mirror -- and by the way, he got that title. he used to be the co-chairman of general mills where they made all the cereal. and the staff at the l.a. times was phenomenal. if staff of the l.a. times would have done as well at journalism as they did at coming up with nicknames, we wouldn't be talking about this because they did a great job. [laughter] so they nicknamed mark the cereal killer because he came in, right away started cutting things, cutting staff. he went and closed new york newsday and, therefore, he got that name. but when the transcribe buick -- tribune bought it, mark willis didn't know that the tribune was buying it. it was kind of a nice little back-stabbing drama that played out in a place where they literally made drama n los angeles. and i think because they were really trying to do the deal in secret, a lot of things that we should have known about that we department know about came back to -- th

Book TV
CSPAN September 17, 2011 10:15am-11:00am EDT

2011 Fall Book Preview Education. (2011) Upcoming books with Bob Minzesheimer and Jason Boog. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Jason Boog 18, Bob Minzesheimer 8, Us 7, New York 6, Michigan 5, Herman Cain 5, America 5, New York City 4, Mitch Daniels 3, Michael Lewis 3, Tom Friedman 3, Bob 3, Washington 3, Sylvia Nasser 2, L.a. 2, Los Angeles 2, United States 2, Jim Lehr 2, Jason 2, Dick Cheney 2
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